Maya vs Modo


To start… this is not meant to be a debate between the two. I am 16 years old and 3d graphics and visual effects really interests me. I have been trying to learn modeling in maya for a little while now, and I just cannot seem to grasp a hold onto it. I am not sure why, I have tried watching some of the digital tutors training dvd’s but it doesnt really seem like its teaching me modeling in the right way. In your honest opinion, do you think it would be better for me to start out in a program like modo to learn the basics then switch to maya? Or should I hang on a little longer while learning maya? Just curious what your RECOMMENDATIONS are please.


Modo is fantastic and pretty easy to learn. I highly recommend it. You can download the trial and see if it fits your needs.

Maya itself is a high-end complete 3D package but advanced users can benefit from it more. You can always go back to learning Maya once you have covered basics of modeling. So I say give Modo a try.

Good luck :slight_smile:


You may want to ask yourself what you want to model, then choose a modeler based on what your answer is. For instance, if you want to model architecture, Modo or Max would be a great modeler. If your interested in modeling characters, Maya, or Z-Brush would be better. I’m not saying the you can’t model characters with Modo (don’t flame me Modo Fanboys) or architcture with Maya, it just can be more easily done with other tools.

Once you decide what it is you want to model then you can search for tutorials that cover that topic.

If you want to model everything, then start by learning one type of modeling, ie: characters. Once you become good at that then move to modeling other things. Don’t try to learn everything at once, or it becomes overwhelming.

Good luck.



If your primary interest is in VFX, stick with Maya. Modo doesn’t do effects.

If you’re more interested in modeling, you might try modo, but don’t expect it to be a miracle cure. I have both and there are definitely things I like about modeling in modo better than in Maya, but the basics are the same (except you can’t do NURBS in modo, which occasionally sucks). You need to know how to make things with basic polygon techniques no matter what program you use (except for Mudbox or Zbrush, which are going to have very different approaches and might be superior for organic modeling).

If you’re struggling with something specific, I’d recommend trying to break down the task into the simplest possible units and focus on each part you find difficult individually until you get the hang of it. Then go for a more difficult project.


but isnt it bad to switch from software to software?


There’s a virtue in knowing multiple packages, at least if you want a job doing the 3D. But it’s going to be easier to learn the basics if you make a choice with one package and stick with it until you have a solid grasp on what you’re doing. As I mentioned earlier, poly-based modeling uses the same tools for most of the work. Until you get comfortable with the workflow, switching packages will slow your learning down, since you’ll need to get comfortable with the different way the new software works.

Where there could be an advantage for a newbie is if the paradigm of one package is more intuitive than the one they’re currently using. I don’t find Maya’s modeling tools less intuitive than modo’s, but Maya does have a huge amount of non-modeling things that could get in the way of focusing on modeling. And until you build a good shelf for it or make a palette with MEL, the tools in modo are more readily accessible. So that might be an advantage. But if you’re not struggling with finding tools, I’d keep with the program you already know a bit.


Okay, I guess I will stick with Maya then until i get a stronger grasp on things. is maya worth learning even if I am not for sure if i want to do vfx?


Yes. At this point, you’re learning the basics. Maya is widely used and those basics will transfer to anything you decide that you want to do: VFX, modeling, animating, lighting, texturing, etc. The great thing about getting into this while you’re still in high school is that you have a lot of time to play before you have to make any decisions (about anything in adult life, really, as long as you keep your studies up). Maya gives you the tools to play with dynamics, modeling, animating and pretty much everything else. Modo’s a great tool, but it’s limited to stills (yes, technically it has a timeline, but it won’t teach you anything about rigging and any animation skills you learn won’t transfer because you’ll be using work-arounds, rather than seasoned tools). Focus on enjoying yourself and learning what you like and don’t like. The rest will come from there.


Ok thanks then, I will figure out what I want to do. What happens if I figure out that i like modeling, animating, etc… all equally?


You become a generalist :stuck_out_tongue: There’s no need to worry about where you’ll go career-wise just yet. Focus on finding out what you like and doing it well. Generalists and specialists both have a place in the industry, but to do either you need to be truly impressive.

For now, I’d suggest you get into a really good art class with a teacher who will make you master the fundamentals. It doesn’t matter if that’s photography, drawing, painting or sculpting, but good art requires seeing. And seeing, as opposed to viewing, has to be learned. A good teacher will push you to not accept work that could be better, but also encourage you to stick with it when you struggle.

Learning the technical side of 3D is important, but it’s only the starting point. I didn’t study art and wish I could go back to when I was a student to do so. As it is, I rely heavily on people who have to see the details I don’t see. I learn to see through them. And the best critics I’ve had have all studied traditional media art.

Learn how to use criticism. The worst artists dismiss critics and never grow, but being uncritical about criticism can be equally bad. Not everybody who tells you things are wrong will be right. You need to learn how to sort through what people tell you so your art can become what you want it to be. Work to find good critics, be nice to them, listen to what they say, and keep going.

Finally, don’t let 3D be an excuse to do poorly in school. If you do poorly in school, you’ll almost certainly regret it later. (Of course, since I don’t know you, you may well be a straight A student–if so, keep it up :applause: ).


ok ill stick with maya


Not to muddy the waters but you might want to give the free 30 day trial to Silo a try. I’m a Maya user who has tried Modo as well and between the three, I believe Silo was the most intuitive modeler to learn. And it is cheap. Good luck to you.


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